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Slax's 2023 GoTY in Progress List

2023 is basically the future. And the future is now, and this list is here. Will the site still be here by the end of this year? I hope so, but no guarantees, maybe I should put this list somewhere else? I don't know how.

ANYWAY! We'll be using the same rating scale as last year. Here is

  1. Bad
  2. Meh/OK
  3. Good
  4. Great
  5. Exemplary

I feel like it mostly worked, although I probably could've rated more 4* games 3* based on this scale. I'll try better!

Now, what did we learn from last year and what are our goals. Well, 2022 I set out to play a bunch of JRPGs that I had a backlog of and I...didn't really do that. It's not as if I didn't play any, but I think a combination of long and sometimes a difficulty being sticky, can make it easy to play a few hours and then just sort of bounce thinking I'll come back soon. Instead, I think we learned a lot about life-style games (which honestly might have negatively affected the above) and how it is difficult to manage too many of these. They come in the form of forever content like FFXIV, battle passes (every game ever) and just weekly and daily quests that missing them is sub-optimal. Some of these things can make a game more engaging, but they also can make a game feel like a job. And I already have a job, I don't need games to feel like more work (well, sometimes it's a good thing, but you (me (ooh nested parentheses)) get it). All that to say, early days of battle passes, I thought, done well, it would be cool to have in some of the multiplayer games I play a lot. But now that they are there, I mostly don't play those games anymore. Maybe something will hit, but it's hard to keep up on everything. At one point I think I was playing Apex, FFXIV and something else. And there was a time when I was going back and forth between Valorant and OW2. It just doesn't work.

So what do I want to pretend to do this year? I guess try not to get sucked in by those kinds of games, and instead go back to JRPGs, or just any sort of nice comfy game. Maybe that's it and maybe it isn't. Hard to tell at this point.

Update sometime at the end of May - Instead of what I wrote above, I got sucked into Diablo 2 for a large portion of this year again. This was the real one. It really stuck it's teeth into me this time. I wish trading was such a vital part of the ladder experience with the economy of drops balanced around it, because with a little drop balancing (or just like a Self-Found drop balance) i think this game would be just soooo nearly perfect. I do think that having teleport be a near necessary skill meaning you either play a sorc or need a really high rune so you can make a rune word that gives you teleport (or have a dumb time switching to your off hand to use a teleport rod) is not the best design, but damn, this game is real fun and the way a wide variety of drops can slightly benefit your build I think gives that nearly perfect drip keeping you coming back for more.

List items

  • *****

    I let Ichiro down. (Writing this in March, but am just gonna play this game forever)

    Read the eBaseball Powerful Pro Yakyū 2020 if you want the details of what I like about these games so much!

    The modes I can play are largely the same, but a little more built out, a few more options and overall an even more enjoyable experience.

    This game also brough Ichiro back as a recruitable highschooler, and as a Seattle native and Ichiro fan, this was super cool!

    Ichiro the highschooler was the greatest player to grace the halls of Thicc HS, but sadly, the pitching couldn't hold of the onslaught of better teams, and Ichiro couldn't hit enough home runs to win any important games. Then he left and my team made it to the finals of the Koshien. Ordinarily, I would blame this star player for hogging all the playing time, but it is Ichiro and I won't say a bad thing about that dude.

    What I didn't mention before, is you can play this highschool mode for like a hundred in game school years. It is wild.

    This was nonsense, but I just wanted to write something about this fantastic game that I now own on the Switch and PS4, because I am wise and make great decisions.

  • *****

    Finished 1/13

    Played this on the couch with my sister, while we tried to figure everything out, and while it was sometimes a little difficult to keep track of everyone, it had such a satisfying loop and story. This is such an easy recommend to anyone who liked Obra Dinn and the like. It certainly is it's own take on that, but putting all the pieces together was wildly enjoyable.

    Also, solving the whole thing before we got to the epilogue made us feel like geniuses.

  • *****

    Didn't win any 甲子園 but then I realized I might as well play 2022. So I did! Beginning of March or whatever.

    Eikan 9 is a mode in which you manage a highschool baseball team and try to lead them in winning a Koshien tournament proving they are the best team in Japan. But you only have 3 years with a given player, and you have to train them, and recruit them, and make sure they rest, and get good grades, and that they get scouted and drafted, and that the field is kept up.

    If that sounds like a lot, it's because I kept saying "and" and was just adding more and more things in a list. And it kinda is. But the system itself is pretty simple, and it's easy enough to play with google translate/a barely passing understanding of basic Japanese (A lot of the text is skippable he says confidently to himself, not knowing if or what he was missing).

    The unique thing, besides the hardcore rogue-like nature of having your best characters disappear, is that you don't actually get to play any baseball. You give your highschoolers commands (read suggestions) on what to do at the at-bat, or how to pitch to the opposing batter. You can even delve into specific details like the alignment of the fielders, or how patient you want a batter at the plate to be. But all of these players have their own sets of skills and abilities that also define how they are going to act and play. It's really fantastic.

    I played this game a lot and I own (I know think every (I think typing this sentence made me go out and buy the other game I was missing)) Powerful Pro game on the switch because they all have unique Success modes, but that takes a lot more patience with google translate, or me translate, and I'm not sure if I have said, but I'm not very good.

    I will say though, that the actually playing baseball in this game is also fantastic. This is better than nearly any baseball game I can remember playing in how good it feels, the depth it has, but also how accessible it can be if you want that.

    The PowerFes mode, is another great one where you don't need to know too much Japanese and you get to actually play the baseball, where you take on increasingly difficult teams of anime superstars, and if you beat them, you recruit some of them to your team making you stronger. It's real fun!

    Great game!

  • ****

    This is a great game and a wonderful evolution of everything they did in in Spider-Man 1 and Miles Morales. I love how you aren't a cop anymore, that's great, and aren't doing a bunch of spying 10/10.

    The plot is...mostly fine! I don't think they get as much time to spend with each of the spiders-men since we are now splitting time, which is a shame, so we are just like BALANCE, and here is how no one is doing it. But they each have their own arcs and they go pretty well. Just as in God of War 2018, having to play with a moody character for a while is kind of annoying though, and I do think they could have made Symbiote Peter more arrogant and fun instead of just like, I'm doing everything and you all suck because that wasn't fun.

    ANYWAY! Good game. Combat good. Less reliance on Stealth fun. 100% this one and there weren't too many annoying missions!

  • ****


    Dark Souls with guns, or as I'll call it. A game with dodging and shooting. Wet 2.

    This game is fun. I think hidden goodies and secrets area big part of it's longevity. I also thing the bosses are creative (and difficult) instead of just trying to do the same thing over and over but making it harder.

    This game feels good and when I beat it, I was pretty happy that I was done! 50 Hours or so into it! I wish they did some sort of endgame on this, because I'd want to play more, but just doing more of the same on hard difficulties doesn't appeal to me much.

  • ****


    They did a different take on Vampire Survivors and it is really fun!

  • ****

    I don't even love Battlefield, but maybe that's because nothing has done Battlefield as well as BattleBit Remastered has. This game is fun, the open mics have been surprisingly non-toxic (I mean, within certain metrics) and the gunplay is sublime. This game is getting the support it needs and I like just hoping in a for a match here there. I'd certainly be playing more if any of my friends played it.

  • 30 Hours and World Tour Mode "Complete"


    If this was a rating of just World Tour mode, this would probably be only 2* and that would be a 5* game being drug down by just a pointless, meandering story mode. If I had a group of friends and just played online all the time, this would probably easily be a 5* game and would maybe be my favorite of the year.

    As it is, I beat World Tour and I have mostly spectated tournaments and online play. And it's a fantastic Street Fighter game, with a better single player mode than they've had in a while (which is literally them stepping over a bar that is lying on the ground) but the last half of world tour is just a slog, and I want more people to play fighting games with.

    I hope to just take the plunge and play more online like I did with Strive. We'll see if I do.

    Update post Mortal Kombat 1, I didn't.

  • ****

    Beat 1.2

    Gacha is bad. Gacha is life though, so it can't be that bad.

    mihoyo should stop making good games, because they do bad monetization. But also it isn't the worst monetization, because even their games are actually kinda F2P friendly. Even more so then Genshin since the F2P cast in this game is actually really good?! But the preying on gambling addiction, and fomo isn't good. They drop rates are dumb and bad and truly how much would it actually cost them to just make all that stuff just not quite as bad? Probably not that much, but since they are making so much money as is? What would cause them to change.

    &Update waiting for 1.3

    mihoyo takes too long to put interesting story into their games. I think that's the crux of my problem with them. When you first jump in, it's a chunky story driven game with lots to do, and then patch after patch you get maybe one or two story missions good for an hour or so of your time. Not enough to meaningfully change anything going on in the world. This, I think, is about when I fell of Genshin. Honkai is at least a little more enjoyable to play for me, so that's lasting longer, but pretty soon here, it may be time to put it down and let it rest for a while.

  • ****

    Great early access, rougelike with divinity-esque combat. Have had a lot of fun playing with friends. If they keep adding content. I think I'll keep enjoying it.

  • ****

    15 Hours stopped playing because other ones of these were coming out

    I largely liked this game as a better PoE, and it feels like a more modern Diablo 2 in some ways. But then they are also like, we are still in early access and are a game you have to pay money for and are adding an MTx shop and and with Diablo 4 coming out (speaking of MTx) I dropped off. Not because I wasn't having a decent time, but just because I think I was good on the genre for a bit.

  • ****

    Beat the Queen 3/15

    I'm still probably going to keep playing this game, because I don't know if anyone knows this, but this game is prettttyyy good!

    I played it for a tiny bit back around it's release and kept meaning to get back into it, buying all the DLC on sale when I'd notice it and promising, someday I'll give this game a real go. Then, like many others, when the Castlevania DLC came out I figured, why not!

    They fixed my main gripe with this game, and I think it was fixed not too far after release, which was that enemies used to scale with the number of scrolls that you picked up. So it was optimal to not pick up scrolls, which felt dumb. And I guess it was, now you just....pick up all the scrolls. There are so many weapons and abilities that lead most runs to feeling pretty unique! This is exactly the remedy for the problem I had with Cult of the Lamb, you absolutely can get busted broken, and that's kind of the point.

    Super fun! I should figure out how to keep getting boss souls and find out what's next. Lots of fun stuff to discover and do!

  • ****

    Finished Success 2/20

    Steam Deck is a cool machine that can emulate a lot of different systems. And especially when a game doesn't need motion controls, it works real well. ANYWAY.

    Power Pros 2008's Success Mode is in basically every way an improvement/continuation of what came before it (also after reading all the Success Modes in these games were inspired by Tokemeki Memorial, and having already watched that Tim Rogers video, well it just makes it feel so comfy). I also like that when you get to the MLB, there is a whole other mode for you to keep playing with your character that has slightly different mechanics.

    These games are great. This one not having as many (or any) failstates felt way better, but it also made it an easier overall time, so I'd probably rather play this again, but I've seen a lot of it. (Also Save States helped with both of these games).

    Someday I'll learn enough Japanese to play the more modern Success Modes, I own a lot of them for the Switch now. But for now, these certainly scratch the itch!

  • ***

    Finished 11/18

    Okay, I wanna keep this short, but inevitably won't. Alan Wake is a game that I think suffered by being too much a product of it's time and a product of the Max Payne company. I wanted to play this in preparation as I heard so much good about Alan Wake II and I'd considered playing this for the past, I don't know, 13 years or so, but it hasn't aged well, and honestly, I think by making different decisions at the time it would've been a better game.

    The problem is, basically everything besides the combat (I guess traversal isn't the best, but that honestly would get more of a pass for being a 360 game) is at worse interesting and at best genuinely great. But the combat is a horde flashlight shooter that isn't fun for engaging. Now I have to say, I didn't give it much of a shot, because I was really here for the story, so I loaded of my favorite fLing trainer and trivialized the combat as much as a good, and honestly, even doing that, it was still super not fun. There was actually a point at the end of one of the DLCs where they do some interesting stuff with light and the environment that I was like, ohhh something like this could've been interesting instead of gunplay all the time, make it more stealth environment combat....SUPER sparingly while instead you have a really environmentally tense story about a man trying to find out what's real. That would be cool.

    I think the combat is largely there to drag the game out, because without it, it would be a short (and better) game. Less running through the woods aimlessly over and over, and instead just going from place to place solving the mystery. They also could've done a whole lot more during the day because it wouldn't have broken the conceit of not being able to have enemies.

    Anyway. They certainly fridge your wife right at the beginning, so that's a bummer, although other things happen, so I don't know if that's better or not. But I'm interested in what comes next. The story of this game is interesting and knowing that Remedy got better at figuring out what combat looks like in their games to make it interesting (see Control) I'm hoping Alan Wake 2 had more hits than misses.

  • ***

    Finished 1/30

    This is such a cute and weird game. I think the mash-up of mechanics is a really fun idea, and overall I enjoyed my time!

    The management part and overworld exploring was pretty well done. Not too intense or complicated, that it would make leaving for a run feel bad, but enough going on (kinda) to keep it interesting at least through the early game.

    My biggest complaint is that, while the dungeon crawling has some interesting variation early on, you don't get those really cool broken runs. Sometimes you get stronger upgrades, sometimes weaker. Generally the tarot cards are fine, none of them change stuff up too much, which is disappoint. Mostly, it just became a thing of, I can try really hard, or just re-roll for a God weapon, and that's not great. It mostly just meant the dungeon crawling was a bit stale after the first 10 or so runs. And it doesn't feel perfect, it feels good, but it's not quite as snappy as I'd want.

    Again, I think this game is good. Maybe with a DLC, it'll be great. But when I beat the last boss, I was relieved that I could be done. Take that for what you will.

  • ***

    Finished Success 2/19

    I have been dabbling with eBaseball パワフルプロ野球 2020 and 2022 on my Switch after importing them. My Japanese isn't good enough (read fairly non-existent) to play the story heavy success mode on those versions, so instead I've been playing some amazing other modes, that I may add entries here for later.

    My family got a Wii for Christmas again, which listen, there is a lot of history there about why it was important to open on Christmas to make up for a perceived lack of excitement my sister and I had when we were younger (and it was 2am in the morning), but once I put together that the last translated Power Pros games came out for the Wii I jumped quickly on eBay and grabbed this for like $25 USD and finally borrowed the Wii.

    Compared to the later versions, this game is a bit barebones, but the success mode (In English, a language that I understand!) was real fun. I didn't love that there were hard fail states which caused you to have to start all the way from the tutorial beginning, and I wish there was a better way to track all the variations that would appear during a run (totally different teammates, becoming captain in the second year, vs not). But overall I played 10+ hours in a couple of days and had a real good time for an aged game.

    Then I remembered I had a Steam Deck with dolphin on it, see Power Pros 2008.

  • ***

    Played a lot 1/8

    This was the game of choice for my friends for a few weeks at the end of last year and beginning of this one. I've played this game off and on since 2020 and it is a totally solid time. The gunplay and movement feel good, and the bosses are usually pretty exciting each time you get there. Gunfire has a few problems with conveying what killed you (for a roguelite, I have zero idea of what damage mitigation skills/scrolls help and by how much, I usually just take some) but I generally like how character progression goes within a single run. And while, after a while, you start to get a feel for which Character ascensions are the best each run, I enjoy the variety of characters and play styles within each characters kits that seem at least somewhat viable.

    However, this game does suffer a bit from the meta-progression being largely just numbers going slightly up with only a few instances of larger changes, which is okay...but does make less successful runs feel not as fun, because nothing much will change for your next one.

    The devs have also updated and added so much content to this game, which is great. Just hoping for a larger variety of viable guns next.

  • ***

    Did a lot of Road to the Show 7/20

    After getting an Xbox Series X, this called to me, no matter how much better I know the Power Pros games are, I can't help that playing a Career mode in English on the Seattle Mariner's really calls to me. And also not doing this over the cloud on my PC seems to alleviate a few of the problems I ran into last year. AND YET. While fun, it really runs into some of the same problems with sports sims of this type, which is, success in baseball is many things, and not all of them feel like success in a video game. And video games don't know how to handle that gracefully.

    For example. In real life, if someone hit a baseball 1 out of every 3 plate appearances, that would be amazing! To consistently do that would be one of the best hitters in the league. But if I, a player of video games, fails, 2/3rds of the time, for reasons that feel out of my control, boy does that feel bad. At least PowerPros feels better in that respect, the game doesn't feel like it's cheating you to make it feel more like baseball.

  • **

    Beat Story Mode 12/11

    This is a game's rating suffers because I didn't end up having any friends that just jammed on this game. I get that. So while the fighting system is fun, I didn't do nearly as much with it as I did even with Street Fighter this year. Which means this game relied purely on the story and boy is that a hard lift for something that should not be held in that high regard.

    Let me say this, I enjoyed the last few games story modes, 9 was fun, X I think I like, 11 I think I was getting bored but still had a decent time. This one due to its reboot/definitely not a reboot nature just ended up feeling meandering. They introduce a new big bad that just feels paint by dull colors and then SPOILERS, it turns out that they aren't new they are the same old one, so nothing is actually new, it's all the same stuff again and isn't that fun. And the last third of this game doesn't really feel like a story at all in a weirdly frustrating way. We all like to clown on the way the characters just find themselves walking and talking into perfect position to fight, but the last third also just has people specifically not fighting each other and being sad that someone is winning until they use their Dragonball Z power harder or something, like he's standing right there, just punch him. You haven't said why your god powers aren't strong enough to just beat another god, but you seem awfully weak.

    The whole thing just ends up feeling pointless and dumb. And while the last few games catch you up on old lore and have some dumb fun along the way and introduce new dumb stuff, this game just seems...tired. Like it just wants to die, but no one will let it.

    The fighting system itself seems great and some other single player stuff might've been cool, but unlike Street Fighter, which this year seemed to do a bunch of stuff that made training feel like it wanted you to get better at the game, it didn't feel like much had changed here. Maybe I just didn't care. If the game didn't...why should I.

  • Stopped at like 28 hours in January, realized, I may never go back, and am calling it.


    I'm not sure if I'd like the first game as much as I did if I replayed it, but this one certainly didn't scratch the same itch that the first one did when it came out. Maybe it was a time and place. Maybe this one is worse. It isn't bad. But as I discovered with last years Ghost of Tsushima, having this sort of combat is going to draw easy comparisons to Sekiro, and that is just something that is not going to go your way. It feels squishy and unresponsive, and while the axe throwing is still cool visually, the actual gameplay itself isn't as enjoyable. You maybe have too many combat options at a given time, feeling like latter day Arkham games, meaning you are mangling your controller around to combo each of the different enemies, which, while feeling better than button mashing, doesn't feel like you are in more control. It's just one of those things that doesn't feel elegant. Having companions that switch out but all do the same things because if they didn't it would be annoying but since they do, it literally is just a different skill tree to level up so it's annoying in a separate way. Overall just nothing was pushing me through, and at least in Tsushima, the gameplay felt visceral and fun sometimes.

    The story is not really engaging, after nearly 30 hours I don't really care about anything that's going on.

    I just am not sure the "spectacle" of much of Sony's first party output is enough for me anymore. They need to do more. The spectacle is still impressive from a technical standpoint but it isn't enough to pull me through a whole game. I think we've just hit that plateau (he says having just bought FFXVI certain to regret it (I know it isn't Sony first party, but the beginning certainly runs into a similar issue)).

    Anyway, maybe someday I'll give it another try, but also, maybe I can be okay not doing that.

  • **

    Co-op campaign finished 5/16

    Are the shooter campaigns bad, or just this one? Or is the bar you have to achieve at this point so high, it's hard to make it. I mean, this game does a lot...fine...I guess. The shooting is still Halo and the guns...are more Halo and they just made another Halo. It has a grappling hook and that feels nice, but I just had such a mediocre time and generally playing games with my friends makes games better. I can't imagine playing through this on my own.

    I feel at this point, Halo is a game for people really invested and steeped in the lore, but I'm not even sure they'd be happy with this drip fed NOUN fest. Maybe they would, I'm not that, not anymore certainly.

    This game pretended like it took a swing, and I guess for that, we should all be grateful, but it truly felt like they had either, a much more ambitious idea or a much less ambitious idea and just patchworked some safe Halo fun, or some safe open world fun.

    I just wish any of the exploration meant anything. I wish weapons felt meaningful to get, instead of just using whatever whenever (but even that would be fine, except they kind make it annoying, but easy to just keep doing that, just get rid of that barrier and be like, do whatever you want). I wish they relied more on the puzzle instead of bullet sponges, and most of all, I wish they just let Master Chief finish the fight. It's time to let him rest.

  • DNF

    This will live down here because I think the time limit hiding unlocks is the biggest sin this game could commit. Just make it have unlocks that turn your camera different colors or something. And maybe the unlocks don't matter? I don't know, but what could be a kinda cozy, cool and weird picture taking game, just having a ticking timer, even that you can turn off literally just ruined my ability to want to keep playing.

    But the soundtrack is perfect. I don't regret spending money on this game. Maybe i'll give it another go and just not worry about it. But this feels like the time trial thing could've just been a different mode or different rewards or something and I would've not felt bad for totally ignoring it. Knowing it's there and I'm not doing it "right" makes me feel like I don't want to keep going...

    Maybe that's a me problem.

  • I think I regrets it.

    Maybe I'll get back to it.

    --Updated some months later in November. I didn't get back to this and I don't want to. Here's why....this game, isn't the kind of RPG where progression pulls you along. And that's true both from the growth mechanics of the characters, nor in the gear you find. So, it really needs the story to hit hard and hit fast for it to have something to get your teeth into and this...this just didn't really do it. Maybe it would've with more time. But how much time can you put into a game before you say, ehhh this doesn't have much for me. And that's what big long RPGs need. Some system to keep pulling those strings, because a story can't keep being the sole propellant for those 50+ hours no matter how good it is.

  • DNF

    Ran a couple of levels.

    Maybe I just don't really like Arkane's games....maybe I should stop trying.